Sprinting from the Bulmers 100% Irish stage at Forbidden Forbidden Fruit where LAOISE had just performed to a little press tent in torrential rain didn’t even slightly dampen the Galway native’s mood.
After performing in front of a packed out tent LAOISE was clearly on a high – and rightly so! It seemed her dreamy vocals were the perfect ice pack to the many weather and gargle-beaten heads in the crowd.
Escaping the downpour we discussed moving from Galway to Dublin, the creative embrace of the capital and the importance of the visual ahead of the launch of her debut EP ‘Halfway’, launching on June 15.
Ethan Hart, I’m definitely a fan of his after seeing his work with you. How did that collaboration come about in the first place?
I had been following him on Instagram for a while and I really, really loved his stuff. I loved his aesthetic ..his look is clean and crisp. So I just contacted him and I asked him if he wanted to work on some artwork with me?
He did the EP imagery, did he shoot the video as well?
At first I was only going to release the EP by itself, and then I decided to do the two singles and Ethan was able to work out from previous photos how the artwork should look. My face isn’t in either of them so there may be a big reveal when it comes to the EP…
So that clean aesthetic you mentioned, do you find the visual aspect is an important part of what you do?
Yeah definitely. I just shot a music video with Christian Tierney actually, just last month. Even Christian was able to work off Ethan’s work, and get that feeling and that vibe, and implement it into the video.
It’s interesting that you’re trying to work with different collaborators while keeping a common thread…
Yeah it’s nice. I’ve been really lucky to work with such genuine, insanely talented people that are interested in my work and want to help me out too
That also go along with your vision too?
Yeah. People that are very interested and enthusiastic in learning about what I want visually. Being able to pick that out of my head when I can’t explain it very well is a big talent, so Christian and Ethan are just amazing.
Besides music do you explore any other creative avenues?
Yeah, I was in between picking art and music for a while. Obviously I don’t have as much time to draw or to paint as much as I used to but I do try to doodle and I do try to get my visuals out to people.
What style is it?
I do a lot of watercolour and I do a lot of pencil sketching and sometimes that can actually help me work through a song if I’m stuck on a part.
Do you have a formal background in it?
Not at all, I just did it in school. It’s therapeutic more than anything else. When I was doing art I’d be listening to music when I was listening to music I’d be thinking of art, so a lot of the time they crossover.
Do you find music as therapeutic as art?
Yeah. Both times I use my hands, and if I’m not physically doing something I get stuck in my head… So yeah, music is very visual to me. I find it very visual when I play and when I sing and when I’m writing so it’s nice that I can also put it down on paper as well as writing it in a song.
You mentioned that music is quite time consuming. Is it difficult to put your interest into other passions when it is such an all-encompassing thing?
Yeah, like I said I haven’t been able to draw as much as I used to, but I have chosen a path that I’m very excited about and very interested in, and something that I will definitely stick with. Music just makes sense.
It’s always different, the fact that there are so many different aspects to it, like live, writing, recording, or releasing. Plus playing with and meeting people, I find that it’s more of a community feeling when it comes to playing music.
You’re essentially a solo artist but you do work with a group. Do you work sporadically with different musicians or do you have like a base core of artists?
Sean and I work out the songs a lot. Sean produces all of my stuff in his studio, which is called APCK Studios. Because we didn’t have much money, we only had a laptop and a microphone, we spent a lot of time working out the sound, because it took me a lot of time figure out what I was doing. I was playing a lot of acoustic stuff and a lot of folk.
To actually find the direction you want to go in.
Yeah. So we were actually able to spend a lot of time in the studio and figure out what direction we were going with and bring it to life and let it flourish.
You mentioned the community aspect, and I feel like the creative community in general tends to band together for important social issues. You performed at the Repeal It! gig recently. Is it cool to see that sort of unity in the artist world for things like abortion rights?
Yeah definitely. I’ve learned a lot in the past two years since I’ve moved up to Dublin from Galway. I didn’t have a lot of musician friends so I always had the thing where you’d have to write your own song and that would be it and it’s yours.
But since I’ve moved up I’ve been collaborating with so many different people be it art, photography, videography, music… And it’s always better when you share it with people and work on it together because you’re only going to go keep going around in the same circles by yourself and I think Dublin especially has very open arms.
They’re very excited to find and work with new people. There’s a big community here of people holding each other up, and there’s no crap.
What was the creative community like when you were in Galway?
Galway was also great. I played traditional fiddle so I got to experience a lot of sessions in town and play with both younger and older generations of musicians and there was a big bond there in session playing.
They wanted this new generation of musicians because it’s so traditional…
Exactly. There’s always the support there for the new music but I found myself, maybe this is just a personal thing, but for me I needed to move away from home to figure myself out. I think I had more of a chance to flourish in Dublin than in Galway, probably just a coming of age and getting older and not being a teenager anymore. But Galway is always so good to me.
Photography by Christian Tierney